I’ve been checking out the new media initiatives that Penguin UK are running and I must say I am quite impressed. They’ve been providing audio books for a long time, and ebooks too, but they also have a blog, podcast, have a fun MyPenguin program, are now in Second Life and are running on online game to launch a book: The Malice Box Quest. The audio books provide a point of entry to stories for people who prefer or can only enjoy books aurally. Ebooks are similarly for those that prefer to read a book in that format, and want the added benefits such as searchable text. The blog keeps everyone posted on what they are doing but most importantly gets a conversation going between consumers and the company. Indeed, it personifies the company. The podcast has interviews with authors to encourage selling of books, but also provides interviews with Penguin staff to continue the conversation of the blog. MyPenguin is a great little campaign where you can buy classic books such as ‘Crime and Punishment’ that come with a different cover. No cover. Teh cover is completely blank, and you, the consumer, are encouraged to draw or paint the cover and send a picture of it back to them. They’re put the images online at the MyPenguin site and at flickr.
In Second Life (the online virtual world) they will be providing a virtual book of the Ur-text of virtual worlds: Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash. Snowcrash is the novel that inspired Second Life. At present they only have a sample of the book, but they will be bringing in a swag of Penguin books, holding reading groups and launches in there too. I’ve been speaking with Jeremy Neumann inworld, he is always happy to chat so give him a bell (IM). The Malice Box Quest looks like a cross between the Google Da Vinci Code Quest and Perplex City:
Over 30 days you must complete a series of puzzles to locate the seven sources of red gold scattered across the earth.
By accurately mapping all seven sources of red gold, the antennae grid of the Malice Box will be disabled, allowing Robert to battle and so defeat the Malice Box.
This will also trace a shape on a map of the Earth, guiding you to the location of the Malice Box – known as the FOCAL POINT.
Only when you have made your mark on the FOCAL POINT can you complete your trials and claim your power and prizes.
I’m impressed Penguin UK. Not because they’re plonked a whole lot of new media or Web 2.0 elements into the mix, but because these are executed well. Check them out: